The Martha’s Vineyard Commission voted 7-4 on March 26 not to review the Mullen Way subdivision. The MVC received the project when it was determined that the Edgartown planning board erred when it approved a plan by Michael Kidder to build a nine-home residential development off Mullen Way.
At a special meeting on Jan. 29, the planning board, on the advice of town counsel Ron Rappaport, voted to rescind its approval and refer the plan to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC).
In a report dated March 24, MVC staff identified key issues. They included: potential regional impacts that would require a DRI public hearing; project triggers that would require mandatory DRI review; habitat protection; adequacy of the road; and whether “the increased traffic and possible physical changes to Mullen Way to accommodate it [would] change the character of the neighborhood.”
The DRI process is rooted in the MVC’s enabling legislation (Chapter 831 of the Acts of 1977, as amended) which authorizes the commission “to review developments that are either so large or have such significant impacts on their surroundings that they would affect more than one town,” according to the MVC web site.
“I strongly believe this project affects only the town of Edgartown, and is not a regional issue,” Mr. Kidder told the MVC last week. ”It does not affect any of the other towns on the Island.” He requested that the MVC decline to accept the project as a DRI.
His attorney, Skip Tomassian, argued a similar point. “It used to be if you had a problem with something going on in your neighborhood, first you’d go to the meeting of the planning board, zoning board of appeals, ConCom, or if you really wanted to complain because there wasn’t a hearing, you’d go to the building inspector,” he said.
“It used to be that these folks who would complain to the planning board or the building inspector would hope that it would get to the commission, so that the commission would hold their feet to the fire. I don’t think that’s the way it should be. This is an issue of local impact, not regional impact.”
He asked the commissioners not to review the project as a DRI.
“And send it back to Edgartown, where these guys can handle it,” he added,with a nod to Edgartown planning board members in the audience.